2019 Award Recipients



Our 2019 Adoption Award recipients were recognized at our Annual General Meeting on June 18, 2019, in Burnaby.

Adoption Champion Award
This award is given to recognize the hard work and dedication of an individual volunteer or group of volunteers who have made an outstanding personal contribution to AFABC.

Renata Ward
Renata is a driven and dedicated volunteer in the central Okanagan. Renata has lead our waiting parent group in the Okanagan for the last two years while being a waiting parent herself, and is now transitioning her daughter home after a long journey of waiting. She has handled her leadership role with grace and wisdom and continues to commit to her duties even as she begins her parenting role. 

Dale Mernett and Amy Pon
Dale and Amy have been volunteering with AFABC for several years. You’ve probably seen them at our lower mainland events. This past Family Fun Day they were superstars because they served all the food and….. then didn’t get any themselves! They both take a leadership role in our Waiting Parents group, and often bring donations by for our youth department. We are truly grateful for their ongoing commitment to seeing that families, kids, and youth succeed.

Spirit Award - Individual
Recognizes a donor who has made a significant and meaningful financial contribution to AFABC.

Brian Anderson
For the past two years Brian has hosted the “Laugh a Minute Challenge” at Vancouver Theatresports, where Brian donates for every big laugh that the Theatresports teams manage to earn during the show. He also attends Family Fun Day and our kids events as the Science Guy. Brian is a strong and longtime supporter of AFABC.

Spirit Award - Corporate
Recognizes an organization or business that has made significant cash or in-kind donations to AFABC.

Broadway Camera
Logo for Broadway CameraFor the past six years, Broadway Camera has been the sponsor of our Faces of Family photo contest. They generously donate three cameras for us to use as prizes. The impact of their donation means that we have a wonderful gallery of diverse and candid family photos to use on our materials, instead of generic and over-used stock images. By helping us share these real faces of adoption with the world, we’re able to show the importance of finding a family for every child.

Special Recognition Award
In addition to the above awards, AFABC also looks at other champions in the adoption and permanency community. These are people who make exceptional contributions to our community and to children and youth who are waiting for forever families.

Elli Tonn
Elli was a foster parent for over 30 years. She fostered dozen of kids, many of whom were Indigenous or who had FASD or special needs. Her foster daughter says that she was an awesome parent, and her former foster children have found success in life in thanks to the great start that Elli gave them. Though they were adopted and are grown now, Elli is still very much in her foster kids lives. Many of them consider her an honourary auntie and they call her every Mothers’ Day. Thank you, Elli, for all you’ve done for British Columbia’s waiting children and youth.

Past recipients


Adoption Champion Award: Tara Hultin
Spirit Award - Corporate: Social Venture Partners Vancouver
Spirit Award - Individual: Sonja Weissenbacher
Helen Mark Excellence in Adoption Award: Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond
Helen Mark Excellence in Adoption Award: Brenda McCreight, PhD, RSW



Adoption Champion Award: Sandra Banks, Insight Support Services
Spirit Award - Individual: Treena & Kevin Innes
Spirit Award - Corporate:
The Victoria Foundation
Special Recognition Award: Tracy Sherlock, Lori Culbert, The Vancouver Sun
Helen Mark Excellence in Adoption Award: Anne Clayton

Adoption in Action Award:
Deloitte Canada
Adoption Champion Award:
Deanna Jones; Drew Savage
Spirit Award - Individual:
Peggy Howard
Spirit Award - Corporate:
John Hardie Mitchell Family Foundation
Special Recognition Award: Pieta Woolley and The Tyee

Adoption in Action Award: Port Metro Vancouver & International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 517
AFABC Champion Award: John Aquing
Spirit Award - Individual: Ian Telfer & Nancy Burke
Spirit Award - Corporate: Accent Inns
Helen Mark Excellence in Adoption Award:
Sandra Scarth

Adoption in Action Award: BC Assessment
AFABC Champion Award: Carrie & Gerald Hohnstein
Special Recognition Award: Catherine Pope
Special Recognition Award: Global TV BC

Adoption in Action Award: Certified General Accountants Association of Canada
AFABC Champion Award:
Lyn Mogren
Spirit Award - Individual: Trisha Tyrell and Bret Gagnon
Spirit Award - Corporate: Raymond James and Ross Birney
Helen Mark Excellence in Adoption Award: Lalum'utl' Smuneem Child and Family Services

Know someone who supports adoption?

Nominate them for an Adoption Award!


Make a difference

Help us help kids by donating or becoming a corporate partner.